The Best Water Filter Pitchers of 2022

Improve drinking water taste and quality and remove harmful contaminants at home with a water filter pitcher.

By Debbie Wolfe | Updated Jun 20, 2022 12:58 PM

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Best Water Filter Pitcher Options

Photo: amazon.com

Access to clean drinking water is a basic necessity. Although most of the water that flows through the taps in homes around the country is safe to drink, its quality and flavor may not be up to par. Using a water filter pitcher is a cost-effective way to have filtered water in your home.

Unlike plumbed water filtration systems, under-sink filters, and faucet filters, a pitcher doesn’t have to be installed, and it requires only minimal maintenance. Although on first glance most water filter pitchers are similar, features vary significantly among brands. This guide includes options to help you pick the best water filter pitchers for your needs.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Brita Everyday Pitcher with 1 Longlast Filter
  2. RUNNER UP: Pur Ultimate Filtration Water Filter Pitcher
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: ZeroWater ZP-010, 10 Cup Water Filter Pitcher
  4. BEST LARGE CAPACITY: Brita Stream UltraMax Dispenser
  5. BEST BUILT-IN DISPENSER: PUR Classic Water Filter Pitcher Dispenser
  6. BEST ALKALINE: Seychelle pH2O Alkaline Water Filter Pitcher
  7. BEST FOR HARD WATER: Brita weiß Marella XL Water Filter Jug
  8. BEST FOR WELL WATER: Hskyhan Alkaline Water Filter Pitcher
Best Water Filter Pitcher Options

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Water Filter Pitcher

Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established strict regulations governing the quality of water as it leaves public water treatment plants, it has no control over the public water pipes through which water flows to households across the United States. However, water filter pitchers can help remove contaminants from water. The best water filters for home use have high-quality carbon filters and are easy to use. Consider the following factors when shopping for the best water purifier to provide the healthiest water for your household.

Contaminants in Your Water

Water filter pitchers are designed to improve the quality of pre-treated drinking water from a municipal source—they do not actually purify water, and they are not designed to remove a large number of bacteria or other hazardous contaminants from water. The EPA defines water contaminants as “any physical, chemical, biological, or radiological substance or matter in water.” However, not all contaminants pose a health risk, such as chlorine and fluoride. Chlorine is added to public water to kill disease-causing pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, and protozoans. Fluoride is added to some municipal tap water to help improve the dental health of citizens.

Mineral contaminants in tap water can include mercury, cadmium, asbestos, copper, lead, and zinc. Most of the unpleasant contaminants are due to downstream contamination. This means that the contaminants are leached into the water from pipes as it enters your home. The older your home is, the greater the risk of downstream contamination. The EPA warns that “homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, fixtures, and solder.”

With increased use by the general public, herbicides/pesticides and pharmaceuticals (prescription medications) are also appearing in tap water. As pesticides and fertilizers are applied to farmlands, gardens, and lawns, they can leach into the groundwater or surface water systems that feed drinking water supplies. Pharmaceuticals are synthetic or natural chemicals found in prescription medications, over-the-counter therapeutic medications, and veterinary medications. They can enter the water supply when people flush them down the toilet or when the medicine is not completely processed by a patient’s body and then he or she uses the bathroom. These contaminants are often referred to as either incidental contaminants and emerging compounds.

Filter Type 

Not all filters can remove every type of contaminant from water. The best water filters are made with activated carbon, or activated charcoal, which is a form of carbon that’s been processed to maximize its number of pores. When activated carbon is used to treat a liquid, the pollutant molecules become trapped inside the pores.

NSF International, an independent organization that develops public health standards for products, uses a process to rate water filters with an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) certification. This process determines which contaminants a water filter removes from the water and then awards a certification to each filter accordingly. Some filters can receive more than one certification.

Common certification standards for water filtration are:

  • NSF/ANSI 42 filters will only remove specific, aesthetic-related contaminants from your water that affect taste and odor, such as chlorine and particulates.
  • NSF/ANSI 53 filters remove health-related contaminants from water, such as lead, Cryptosporidium, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and chromium.
  • NSF/ANSI 401 filters remove incidental contaminants and emerging compounds.
  • NSF/ANSI 244 and 231 filters remove microbiological contaminants and are commonly used in water filters designed for areas in which microbiological contamination of the public water supply occurs on an intermittent basis or in remote areas where people are using a water supply while backpacking and camping.

Filter Replacement Frequency 

How frequently you need to replace a water filter depends on the level of contamination in your water and the amount of water you filter per day. Each manufacturer will provide the average lifespan of a water filter, including the number of gallons of water it can process.

Most water filters will last an average of two to six months. If you notice changes in the odor and/or taste of your water, or the filter begins to process the water at an unusually slow rate, then it’s time to change the filter. Some pitchers feature an LED light that flashes when it’s time to replace the filter so you know exactly when to do it.

Filter Speed 

While some water filters are naturally faster than others, the speed of a water filter depends on the number of filtration substance layers it has and which contaminants it is rated to remove. In general, longer filtration time means more contaminant removal. Of course, water filters nearing the end of their life span will pass water more slowly due to the contaminants trapped in it.

Although filter speed may not be the feature that will sway your decision, it does make a difference if you are in a hurry to fill your water bottle or coffee pot in the morning. On average, most carbon filters will pass water in less than a minute.

Ceramic or reverse osmosis filters take longer because of the multiple layers of substrate in the filter. Expect most water pitcher filters to take between 40 and 90 seconds to filter one 8-ounce cup of water.

Pitcher Material 

Most water filter pitchers are made from plastic, which makes them lightweight, durable, and affordable. The quality of plastic varies from brand to brand, and all plastics are not the same.

Most consumers want a pitcher made from BPA-free plastic, which doesn’t leach chemicals into the water and produces the best-tasting water because it won’t add a “plastic” taste to the water.

Jug Size/Water Capacity 

Water filter pitchers are available in various sizes and shapes. When shopping for the best size for your needs, take a look at how much water the pitcher can filter at a time. Bigger is not always better in some cases. The more water the pitcher filters at one time, the longer you will need to wait for the water.

However, you can filter plenty of water for three or more people using a 5-cup jug; you’ll just have to filter water more often. The best way to determine the pitcher size you need is to determine how much filtered water you and your family consume each day and then select the size that will accommodate that need.

pH Balance/Mineral Addition

While no scientific proof exists as to the benefits of drinking alkaline water, it’s gaining in popularity. Proponents of the trend claim that drinking alkaline water—with its higher pH levels—aids in neutralizing acid in the body, which can reduce inflammation and help to prevent chronic disease. It’s possible to alter the pH of your water or enhance its mineral content with an ionized water filter. Ionized water filters contain alkaline minerals or other acid-reducing minerals that transform and ionize the water without using electricity. These filters separate water into two types: alkaline water and acidic water.

Untreated natural water in streams and lakes is mostly alkaline, and it typically has a higher pH of 8 or 9. Alkaline water also has a higher mineral content before it enters a water treatment facility. Conversely, most of the water coming from the taps has a pH range between 6.5 to 8.5.

Built-in Dispenser

Large water filter pitchers with a built-in dispenser have the added feature of convenience as they will allow you to easily pour water into your glass, water bottle, or another container. These pitchers are typically rectangular in shape. Since they are too heavy and cumbersome to pour from a handle, they are equipped with a tap near the bottom to dispense your filtered water.

Although pitchers with built-in dispensers are ideal for a crowd or even just a large family, they can sometimes take up more space and are more prone to leaks.

Our Top Picks

The best water filter dispenser delivers great-tasting water. The following choices are based on reputation, quality, and practicality.

Best Overall

The Best Water Filter Option: Brita Longlast Everyday Water Filter Pitcher, 10 Cup
Photo: amazon.com

Brita, one of the best-known manufacturers of water filter pitchers, produces a variety of pitchers and filters with different NSF/ANSI certifications. This classic Everyday Pitcher is made of BPA-free plastic and holds 10 cups of water. It features an easy-fill locking lid and an ergonomic handle that makes it comfortable to pour. The pitcher fits on a refrigerator shelf.

The Everyday Pitcher includes Brita’s newer Longlast filter, which carries NSF/ANSI 42, 53, and 401 certifications, reduces 99 percent of lead, chlorine, cadmium, mercury, benzene, asbestos, and more. Unlike Brita’s standard filter, which can last 2 months or filter 40 gallons of water, the Longlast filter lasts for at least 6 months and filters 120 gallons of water.

The pitcher has a basic sticker filter indicator to track its lifespan. It’s a solid product with a highly rated filter for an affordable price.

Product Specs

  • Filter certifications: NSF/ANSI 42, 53, and 401
  • Jug capacity: 10 cups
  • Filter lifespan: 6 months

Pros

  • Uses high-quality filters
  • Filters last a long time
  • Easy-fill lid and ergonomic handle

Cons

  • Uses a sticker to track expiration

Get the Brita Longlast water filter pitcher on Amazon.

Runner-Up

Best Water Filter Pitcher PUR 7CUP
Photo: amazon.com

Pur is another company with an impressive lineup of water filtration systems. This Pur Ultimate Filtration model is popular among consumers because of its overall efficiency and performance.

The pitcher, which has a 7-cup capacity, is made from BPA-free plastic. It features an easy-fill lid that doesn’t have to be removed to refill the pitcher. It has a comfortable grip handle with a no-leak spout that won’t spill water even when filled to the brim. A built-in LED filter life indicator lets users know when it’s time to change the filter.

The pitcher comes with Pur’s Plus PPF951K filter, which has NSF/ANSI 42, 53, and 401 certifications. It’s certified to reduce 99 percent of lead as well as a number of other contaminants, including mercury, copper, pesticides, and industrial pollutants. This filter can last for 2 months or filter 40 gallons of water. The pitcher is dishwasher-safe.

Product Specs

  • Filter certifications: NSF/ANSI 42, 53, and 401
  • Jug capacity: 7 cups
  • Filter lifespan: 2 months

Pros

  • Filter change light
  • Removes lead and other contaminants
  • No-leak spout
  • Dishwasher-safe

Cons

  • High price
  • Low filter lifespan

Get the Pur Ultimate Filtration water filter pitcher on Amazon.

Best Bang For the Buck

Best Water Filter Pitcher Options: ZeroWater ZP-010, 10 Cup Water Filter Pitcher
Photo: amazon.com

ZeroWater delivers advanced filtration for an economical price. All of ZeroWater’s filters feature a 5-stage filtration system that is guaranteed to remove 99 percent of total dissolved solids (minerals, salts, chemicals, fluoride, metals—including lead—and more) in treated tap water. The filter has NSF/ANSI 42 and 53 certifications and features five layers of substrate that target specific pollutants.

The filtered water dispenser, which has a 10-cup capacity, is made with BPA-free plastic. It offers a “Quick Fill” spigot on the back of the handle to fill a cup without lifting the pitcher. It also includes a water quality meter that continuously monitors the water throughout the life of the filter.

This filter is rated to last for 40 gallons or more, but it filters much slower than other competing filters because of its five layers of substrate. However, for those looking for a filter that removes a plethora of contaminants for a reasonable price, the ZeroWater pitcher is a good option.

Product Specs

  • Filter certifications: NSF/ANSI 42 and 53
  • Jug capacity: 10 cups
  • Filter lifespan: 2 months

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Quick-fill spigot
  • Water quality meter

Cons

  • Lower filter quality than some other models
  • Filters slowly

Get the ZeroWater water filter pitcher on Amazon.

Best Large Capacity

Best Water Filter Pitcher Options: Brita UltraSlim Dispenser with 1 Stream
Photo: amazon.com

The UltraSlim Dispenser is Brita’s largest-capacity dispenser with a space-efficient design that fits in most refrigerators. The dispenser provides a 25-cup capacity, which makes it ideal for larger households. It’s made of BPA-free plastic and features a SmartLight LED filter indicator that lets you know when to change the filter. The indicator glows every time you dispense water—green means your filter is still operating effectively, while red means it’s time to replace the filter.

The dispenser also offers a built-in spigot that makes it easy to pour water into cups or containers. It comes with Brita’s standard filter that has NSF/ANSI 42 certification to reduce chlorine and other contaminants that negatively affect the flavor and odor of tap water. This filter lasts for two months or per 40 gallons of water.

Product Specs

  • Filter certifications: NSF/ANSI 42 and 53
  • Jug capacity: 25 cups
  • Filter lifespan: 2 months

Pros

  • Extra-large capacity
  • LED filter change indicator
  • Uses standard filters

Cons

  • Short filter lifespan

Get the Brita Stream water filter dispenser on Amazon.

Best Built-in Dispenser

Best Water Filter Pitcher Options: PUR Classic Water Filter Pitcher Dispenser
Photo: amazon.com

For larger families that need to filter more than five to 10 cups of water at a time, this PUR water filter dispenser features a built-in spigot for easy access to its 18-cup capacity. In fact, you can even dispense water during the actual filtering process.

The dispenser is made of BPA-free plastic and includes PUR’s standard filter with NSF/ANSI 42, 53, and 401 certifications. The filter is also certified to reduce over 60 other contaminants, including mercury, copper, pesticides, and industrial pollutants. However, it is not rated to remove lead—PUR sells a specialty filter for that purpose. This standard filter will last for two months or per 40 gallons of water.

Product Specs

  • Filter certifications: NSF/ANSI 42, 53, and 401
  • Jug capacity: 30 cups
  • Filter lifespan: 2 months

Pros

  • Extra-large capacity
  • High-quality filters
  • Easy-to-use spigot

Cons

  • Filters must be changed frequently

Get the Pur water filter pitcher dispenser on Amazon.

Best Alkaline

Best Water Filter Pitcher Options: Seychelle pH2O Alkaline Water Filter Pitcher
Photo: amazon.com

Alkaline water has many purported benefits, but buying it can get expensive. Instead of purchasing plastic jugs of alkaline water, the Seychelle pH2O Alkaline Water Filter Pitcher offers an easy solution for making it at home.

This water filter pitcher uses Ionic Adsorption Micro Filtration (IAMF) technology to create alkaline water. Its multilayered filtration process is designed to target the removal of different types of contaminants. The filter is NSF/ANSI 42, 53, and 401 certified and increases the pH level of water up to 9.5, all while maintaining healthy minerals.

The pitcher has a 64-ounce capacity and can filter up to 200 gallons of water before the filter must be replaced. While the Seychelle water filter pitcher is one of the more expensive products on the market, it can save money over the long run.

Product Specs

  • Filter certifications: NSF/ANSI 42, 53, and 401
  • Jug capacity: 64 ounces
  • Filter lifespan: Approximately 9 months (200 gallons)

Pros

  • Increases water’s pH level
  • High level of filtration
  • Ultra long-lasting filters

Cons

  • High price

Get the Seychelle water filter pitcher on Amazon.

Best For Hard Water

Best Water Filter Pitcher Brita
Photo: amazon.com

Some communities have hard water, which means it’s high in minerals like calcium and magnesium that can create limescale and cause an undesirable flavor. This filter pitcher from Brita uses the brand’s Maxtra+ filters, which feature micro-carbon pearls to reduce chlorine and organic impurities as well as ion exchange pearls that absorb metals and reduce limescale. This is particularly useful for protecting appliances—like kettles and coffee machines—from limescale buildup. However, these filters must be replaced every 4 weeks.

The pitcher has a total capacity of 3.5 liters (or about 15 cups) and has an easy-flip lid that makes it easy to fill. As an added bonus, it comes in several fun colors, including blue, red, purple, and green. While the lid must be washed by hand, the pitcher itself is dishwasher-safe.

Product Specs

  • Filter certifications: NSF/ANSI 42 and 53
  • Jug capacity: 15 cups
  • Filter lifespan: 1 month

Pros

  • Reduces limescale and filters out chlorine
  • High capacity
  • Dishwasher-safe

Cons

  • Short filter lifespan

Get the Brita Marella water filter pitcher on Amazon.

Best For Well Water

Best Water Filter Pitcher Options: Hskyhan Alkaline Water Filter Pitcher
Photo: amazon.com

Well water is untreated groundwater (rain that has moved through the soil and into an aquifer). Since the water is filtered through the ground, it can absorb a lot of contaminants along the way. To ensure that your well water is safe to drink, it’s recommended that you conduct regular water quality tests.

The Hskyhan water filter pitcher features a filter with seven layers of substrate to remove fluoride, chlorine, lead, dirt, and harmful metals while also improving the odor and taste of water and making it more alkaline. The manufacturer does not list its NSF/ANSI certifications, but its filtering capabilities align it with products that are NSF/ANSI 42 and 53 certified.

The filter’s lifespan is around 70 gallons, and the pitcher also includes a spare filter. An indicator on the handle lets you know how many days remain before you need to replace the filter. The pitcher’s 10-cup capacity is large enough for the whole family to enjoy fresh, filtered water daily.

Product Specs

  • Filter certifications: NSF/ANSI 42 and 53 (estimate)
  • Jug capacity: 10 cups
  • Filter lifespan: 3 months (70 gallons)

Pros

  • Removes contaminants in well water
  • Extra filter included
  • Filter change indicator

Cons

  • NSF/ANSI certifications not listed

Get the Hskyhan water filter pitcher on Amazon.

Our Verdict

Our recommendations cover a variety of types and styles of water filter pitchers to suit different needs. The Brita Longlast water filter pitcher is our top pick because of its high-quality filter and long filter lifespan. Our best bang for the buck pick, the ZeroWater water filter pitcher, offers similar performance at a more affordable price.

How We Chose the Best Water Filter Pitchers

While it’s easy to assume that all water filter pitchers offer similar performance, a number of factors affect their functionality. Several years of experience covering home goods and kitchen essentials as well as extensive product research went into choosing our final curated selection. We reviewed more than 25 water filter pitcher options and weighed a number of practical considerations before making our recommendations.

We prioritized models that feature certifications from the NSF and ANSI to ensure their filtration claims were accurate. We aimed to include pitches of varying sizes to provide an option to suit most households. Preference was assigned to models that are compatible with long-lasting filters to reduce the frequency with which they must be replaced.

The Advantages of Owning a Water Filter Pitcher 

Clean water is essential to your health. It’s recommended that the average person drinks at least eight glasses of water per day, and fresh-tasting water makes it easier to reach this goal. Fortunately, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on a whole-house water filtration system in order to have great tasting water. Instead, water pitcher filters make it convenient and affordable to have clean, healthy drinking water in your home.

Water filter pitchers remove common contaminants found in tap water. They will also make tap water smell and taste better by removing the chlorine used to disinfect tap water. Best of all, water filter pitchers are portable and small enough to fit on countertops and most refrigerator shelves.

  • A water filter pitcher provides effective filtration of common contaminants found in tap water.
  • A water filter pitcher is a low-cost alternative to having a water filtration system in your home.
  • A water filter pitcher is easy to use, portable, and will not take up much countertop or refrigerator space.

How To Change a Water Filter Cartridge

Water filters have a lifespan. How often you change the water filter depends on the level of contaminants in your tap water and how often you filter water. Changing a water filter is easy and takes only a few minutes when you follow these steps:

  • Open a new filter cartridge and soak it in a clean glass of water according to the manufacturer’s directions. This activates the filter media and removes any carbon dust.
  • After the soaking process, remove the filter from the water and allow excess water to drain.
  • Remove the old filter and insert the new one. Reset the filter change indicator or make a note on the calendar of the date you placed a new filter in your water pitcher.

What Contaminants Does a Water Filter Pitcher Remove?

Officially, there are no federal regulations for water pitcher filters. However, most manufacturers follow the NSF/ANSI protocols to establish minimum requirements for the safety and performance of filters used in water pitchers.

These are the main certification standards commonly used for residential water filtration systems and filters for water pitchers:

NSF/ANSI 42

Filters with NSF/ANSI 42 certification reduce specific aesthetic-related contaminants from your water that affect taste and odor, such as chlorine and chloramine, which is a group of chemical compounds that contain chlorine and ammonia. Chlorine and chloramine are added to drinking water for disinfection purposes. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the small amounts of chlorine and chloramine in drinking water do not cause harmful health effects. However, they can be unpleasant to smell and affect the water’s taste.

NSF/ANSI 53 

Filters with NSF/ANSI 53 certification remove health-related contaminants from water, such as lead, mercury, Cryptosporidium, VOCs, chromium, and more. Many carbon-based filters have this certification. It’s common to find water filters with both NSF/ANSI 42 and NSF/ANSI 53 certifications.

NSF/ANSI 401 

Filters with NSF/ANSI 401 certification remove incidental contaminants and emerging compounds. These contaminants are often pharmaceuticals or chemicals not yet regulated by the EPA. Some of these contaminants include over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and pesticides like DEET that make their way into the public water system.

NSF/ANSI 244 and 231

Filters with NSF/ANSI 231/244 certification remove microbiological contaminants from water. These filters protect against intermittent microbiological contamination of safe drinking water, usually for water sources in remote areas or when there is accidental or irregular contamination of the municipal water supply. They use reverse osmosis or ceramic components to remove microbes, such as bacteria, yeast, mold, fungi, virus, prions, protozoa, and more. Most filters used in water filter pitchers hold NSF/ANSI 244/231 certifications.

FAQs  

Water filter pitchers are an effective way to improve the quality of tap water. However, with so many filter types and pitcher styles available, it can become confusing. Here are several questions and corresponding answers that will help you understand more about water filter pitchers.

Q: What are water filter pitchers? 

Water filter pitchers are plastic pitchers with a self-contained water filtering system that removes contaminants from drinking water.

Q: How do water filter pitchers work?

Water filter pitchers are easy to use; just fill them with your tap and wait for the water to flow through the filter.

Q: What is a carbon filter in a water pitcher? 

The filter used in most water filter pitchers contains granular activated carbon. The carbon removes certain chemicals and other contaminants as water passes through the filter.

Q: Why do people drink alkaline water?

Some people believe that alkaline water has health benefits. Advocates of alkaline water promote this belief that it can help neutralize the acid in your bloodstream. They contend that less acid in your bloodstream can lead to weight loss, clearer skin, reduced inflammation, and even an increased ability to fight off disease. However, there is no scientific evidence to support those claims.

Q: Is it OK to drink alkaline water all the time?

Alkaline water is considered safe to drink, but excess consumption can cause some negative side effects, such as lowering of natural stomach acidity.